‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak – A review


My definition of ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak :

  1. A book which is haunting me;
  2. A book which is tempting me to read it again;
  3. A book which is one of the best books I read till now.

Worry not. I am still intoxicated by ‘The Book Thief’. If you have read this book, you can relate to the above description. If you haven’t, then let me explain to you.

About the book:

“It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .”, states the author in the first chapter.

The story is set against the backdrop of World War II in Germany. It depicts the constant struggle of a young girl named Liesel Meminger in the midst of heinous war crimes. Liesel chances upon her first book when she loses her brother and later with the help of her foster father, she learns to read. From then on , she is attracted to words and steals a couple of books. During bomb raids, she reads those books to her neighbors while they are all seeking refuge in the basement.


What I liked about the book:

  1. Narration.
  2. Narration.
  3. Narration.

I didn’t know that ‘death’ can be so enticing till I read this book. The author chose ‘death’ as the narrator for the story of a young girl who is a perpetual survivor.

Generally I am not a huge fan of reading books set against a war background but the awesome story telling captivated me. I felt as if I was reading poetry. The words are lyrical, the description is brilliant and the vivid images painted by the author are exceptional.


Here are few excerpts from the book:

“It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. ”

“The sky is blue today, Max, and there is a big long cloud, and it’s stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it, the sun is like a yellow hole. . .”

“The sky was like soup,boiling and stirring. In some places, it was burned. There were black crumbs, and pepper, streaked across the redness”.

Apart from these scenic descriptions, there are a lot of touching quotes throughout the book. Here are a few of them.

My favorite quotes from the book:

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”

“The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.”


After  I wrote the above content, when I checked goodreads, I found that this book is listed as one of the ‘Popular Lyrical books’ and also mentioned under the  ‘Best books of 21st Century’. 🙂


Did you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? Do let me know.

12 thoughts on “‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak – A review

  1. I haven’t read the book, but I did see the movie. It was awesome….she had such a thirst for knowledge! The books are always better than the movies because there is room for a great deal of detail that you won’t get from the movie.

  2. Oh yes this will always be a special book for me, though I won’t be able to pin point why exactly I love this book so much! It’s the beauty of narration, like you said, probably. I love the scene where death describes the reunion of Max and Liesel at the end. God I need to read this one again.

  3. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I think I had started to watch the movie long back and left in the middle. Actually, I don’t like reading war books much either, but I made an exception and read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah this January, It is about German occupied French during WWII. Surprisingly, I loved that book. You might want to try it out.

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